Mike Rufail, owner of Team EnVyUs posted on his twitter today to announce that the speculation over them receiving funding and securing the Dallas Overwatch League spot is in fact true. While he did not confirm that the funding received was indeed $35 million he did say they had received multi 8 figure investment, which leads us to believe the rumored number to be accurate.
Is Disney primed to be a major player in the Overwatch League? Our guess is absolutely! Disney XD is a channel geared to a younger hardcore audience. This weekend they began broadcasting reruns of the Overwatch World Cup series with their first episode of Shanghai. So we’re going to build out a landscape for you in terms of why a Disney and Blizzard partnership makes sense and how we are seeing the early stages of it already. Did we mention Disney owns ESPN?
Blizzard has a few important decisions to make about how they should do an Overwatch League Broadcast. Blizzard has amassed a lot of talent with DoA and MonteCristo being hired away from Riot. They also have assembled a casting crew for the Overwatch League World Cup to supplement them. That said, perhaps the most ambitious goal for the league has to do with their growth expectations. To meet those expectations they’re going to have to amass fans who are currently not watching professional Overwatch.
One of the big questions about Overwatch as an esport has always been how best to view the game. This year, reports show that a Spectator Mode may be released at this year’s BlizzCon. From the start of the World Cup and as more leagues like Contenders and APEX grow quickly, all the viewers will eventually feed into the Overwatch League. The hardcore audience is used to viewing in first person mode, but what about the rest of the world?
Today is September 14th. We have about 7 weeks until BlizzCon. The player signing window closes at the end of October which means teams will have a full week to prepare for getting their announcements ready. Here are our top five predictions on what we think you can expect from the Overwatch League at BlizzCon this year:
- Season 1 Schedule
Everyone knows that Season One will be played in L.A. at the newly formed Blizzard Arena. The big question is, no one knows when it will start? Blizzard had said last year that this league would begin in 2017. Now they have to deliver on that expectation. So, how do they do it? Well, many of the chips are in place for Season One to start. Our guess is that the schedule will launch in either December or January of 2018. Think of it from a viewing perspective. The winter months are ideal for watching esports at home. Many people especially in the Northeast are indoors and you’ll have a solid few months to build up fandom. So, the schedule will be announced at BlizzCon and well, it may just start right away.
There are more rumors flying out of ESPN that Chicago or Milwaukee may be on the table for Overwatch League. In a recent report sources say that Milwaukee Bucs owner Wes Edens is in talks to form a team. The question about location is the big thing to look at here. Chicago is considered a top tier city and would likely be the best candidate. However, we may see a team in Milwaukee instead. There is no set guarantee as to where this team will finalize. Blizzard did not comment on the news, but this is looking like the potential thirteenth team on the roster.
In a report out of ESPN, there will now be a Houston Overwatch League spot. This team is being put together by Texas Rangers Neil Leibman and OpTic Gaming. The company has not only applied for a franchise in the Overwatch League but also are looking to buy a spot in the LCS for League of Legends.
This could mark the second of Texas teams that have not officially been added to the roster of teams. We heard reports that Team EnVyUs would be moving into the Dallas spot at some point with a $35 million investment from Ken Hersh.
We got the chance last week to talk to Seoul Coach Baek Kwang-Jin about preparing for the Overwatch League in the coming months. The Lunatic-Hai Manager/Coach is planning for a serious assault on the league with one of the top teams. Here is what he had to say:
- Are you excited to bring the team into the Overwatch League? Lunatic Hai has been at the top and now it seems like this league will bring in the best competition in the world.
I am very pleased to work with the back-to-back winners of APEX Season 2 and 3 for the Seoul team in the Overwatch League. Our team will devote time and energy into training to bring the championship back to Korea and earn the value and popularity that traditional professional sports teams are known for.
- What has you relationship been like with Kevin Chou in setting up this new franchise?
Kevin Chou provides full support, for instance, the best training equipment and facilities, along with health management, media training, and English language tutoring to the players to positioning the players as professional global athletes. I want to be part of his vision for the team and will endeavor to win the championship in the first season of the Overwatch League.
In yesterday’s High Noon broadcast on Youtube, the team was talking to Matt “coolmatt69” Iorio he mentioned some teams that had been scouting him for Overwatch League. The most important part of this discussion is that teams are still doing tryouts and offers have been made by unannounced teams! Matt plays on the World Cup Team and is featured as one of the top players in the U.S. The World Cup is planned for BlizzCon in November. Most likely we expect to hear major announcements at the show which may feature full teams being revealed. The player signing window continues to remain open for the next several weeks.